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Strong Hitting Not Enough To Offset Injuries & Errors For Mariners In 2017

Ted S. Warren
/
AP Photo
Mariners players stand at the dugout rail during the ninth inning of a baseball game against the Cleveland Indians, Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017, in Seattle. The Mariners were eliminated from post-season play as the Indians won 4-2.

The Mariners play their final series of the season this weekend against the Angels in California. The team has now gone 16 consecutive years without a playoff appearance - the longest drought in Major League Baseball history.

KNKX sports commentator Art Thiel breaks down what went wrong this season and what might go right for the team next year.

Injuries + Errors

Thiel said injuries were a big problem for the Mariners this season. Nearly all of the starting pitchers and several key position players were out for stretches of time in 2017.

The Mariners were strong offensively this year. But Thiel said it wasn't enough to counter all the injuries and the fielding errors and poor base running that plagued the team.

Biggest Frustration

Thiel said that perhaps the biggest letdown for fans is the Mariners' inability to get to the playoffs.

To make matters worse, the Minnesota Twins won the American League's second wildcard playoff spot after losing 103 games last year.

"They went into the same talent pool Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto did and they came away with enough players to turn the season around and make the playoffs in one year."

"It's the first time in Major League history that a team that had lost 100 or more games the previous year made the playoffs."

"The problem that the Mariners have had this year was they didn't have enough farm system prospects to trade for veteran, quality players."

"To have another team like the Twins leap over the Mariners, as the Houston Astros have done, I think that's what aggravates fans the most." 

On The Bright Side...

According to Thiel, bright spots for next season include strong offense and defense from rookie outfielders Mitch Haninger, Ben Gamel and Guillermo Heredia and the offensive second coming of quality catcher Mike Zunino.

Never miss an episode again. Subscribe to Sports With Art Thiel with iTunes orGoogle Play now. You can find Art Thiel's work at Sportspress Northwest and Crosscut.com.

Kirsten Kendrick hosts Morning Edition on KNKX and the sports interview series "Going Deep," talking with folks tied to sports in our region about what drives them — as professionals and people.
Art Thiel is a co-founder and writer for the rising sports website Sportspress Northwest. In 2003 Thiel wrote the definitive book about the Seattle Mariners, “Out of Left Field,” which became a regional bestseller. In 2009, along with Steve Rudman and KJR 950 afternoon host Mike Gastineau, Thiel authored “The Great Book of Seattle Sports Lists,” a cross between historylink.org and Mad Magazine that has become mandatory reading for any sports fan who has an indoor bathroom.